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India to reduce carbon intensity by 24 per cent by 2020

India could reduce its carbon intensity by 24% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, government sources revealed today.

The leaked figures, which emerged ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit next Monday, follow Beijing's announcement last week that China would move to cut carbon intensity - the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic growth - by more than 40% by 2020.

The EU has already pledged a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2020 - set to rise to 30% if other developed countries match the European target - while the US last month proposed cuts of 17%.

Sources told the Indian media that the reduction in carbon intensity could go up to 37% by 2030, compared to 2005. India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, is expected to make a statement in parliament tomorrow to announce the targets, Reuters reported.

To reduce emissions, India's national action plan on climate change sees increasing solar power generation, improving energy efficiency and enhancing carbon sinks as a route to "greener growth". In August, India laid out an ambitious plan to generate 20GW of solar power by 2020, which could equate to 75% of the world's solar energy.

The country, which is the world's fourth-highest emitter of greenhouse gases, has been under pressure from developed nations to announce what it will do to control emissions.

With an economy estimated to grow at 6.5% next year, many have pointed out that Delhi's contribution to global warming will increase substantially.

India's "voluntary reductions" were first floated by Ramesh last week during talks with the Chinese prime minister.

He told journalists then that India could not afford to be seen as lagging behind in other nations in offering to act. "We have to look at it. I don't think we can sweep (aside) the fact that China, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and peer group countries have put down voluntary, unilateral, non-legally binding, quantitative targets," the minister said.

Ramesh also said Delhi would shoot down the Danish proposal to set a "peaking year" after which global emissions will fall. A draft proposal suggested that global emissions peak by 2020.

A senior government official who declined to be named told Reuters that India's final targets, likely to be presented at next week's global climate change talks in Copenhagen, could reflect a broad range rather than a specific figure.

Talks for a new global climate treaty to succeed the 1997 Kyoto protocol beyond 2012 are deadlocked as rich and poor nations trade blows. The issues range from emission targets to the financial aid for developing countries to help them cope with the effects of climate change.

Delhi has been a hardliner in the negotiations saying it won't accept legally binding emission caps and offered only to keep per-capita output of carbon lower than that of richer nations. The average Indian's carbon footprint is eight times smaller than the average person in Britain.



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